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District claims ring hollow
Friday, June 20th, 2014
Issue 25, Volume 18.
While pay was stagnant and reduced, teachers absorbed annually increasing health care costs, inflation, and now face additional increases in their contributions to retirement.
Against this backdrop, Temecula teachers strongly rejected the school district’s meager salary offer of a 4 percent (1 percent for 2013-2014 and 3 percent for 2014-2015) wage increase.
Citing restrictions and uncertainties with additional funding gained through Proposition 30, Measure Y, and the new state funding model called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the district claims the money is simply not there to offer a more generous salary
Sounds reasonable enough until one examines the district’s spending habits over the past several years. A visit to the TVUSD website under the heading Personnel Items (see July 16, 2013; December 10, 2013; January 21, 2014; March 18, 2014) reveals a steady and costly growth in administration with many new hires, promotions, and job reclassifications in which employees are awarded changes in job title with increases in
The district administration often justifies this administrative expansion under the guise of growth yet it was not too long ago that a large number of teachers were laid off due to both state budget shortfalls and declining
A review of the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) shows that significant LCAP funds will be spent either hiring or placing a large number of existing teachers on special assignment (TOSAs). There is speculation that TOSAs will be working with a very small number of students and will be excused from teaching a fullschedule of classes leading some to question whether this is a prudent use of LCAP funds.
Several TOSAs will be assigned to the elementary level as Supplemental Support Specialists costing the district $361,336 to $398,373 annually. With that amount of money, the district could hire several full time elementary teachers to help shrink class sizes, a move that would truly benefit our youngest
At the secondary level, several TOSAs will work as Math Specialists and English Language Arts Specialists. The yearly price tag for this component will range from $307,793 to $339,342 and $542,004 to $597,560 respectively. That sum of money could be better spent resurrecting after-school math and English tutorial programs or training existing math and English Language Arts teachers effective strategies to tackle the unique learning disabilities of our most at-risk
Allowing those teachers to work with struggling students for an extra period during the instructional day will offer dividends in the form of reduced absenteeism and drop out rates.
Another $220,000 to $242,550 annually will be spent on Supplemental Programs Coordination. Instead of spending money on program coordinators, let us earmark that money for children. We could implement an after-school enrichment program allowing students to learn new skills and keep them in a safe environment while their parents are at work. Restoring summer school classes at ALL grade levels to assist this district’s struggling students is another
In short, district claims that no money is available to offer teachers a fair pay increase ring hollow when one recognizes the millions of dollars wasted on expanding district administration and hiring TOSAs. If the district does not want to give teachers adequate compensation, then funnel the savings directly into student programs and services while reducing administrative growth and cutting the TOSA plan.
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